Why is this building significant?
Sited prominently opposite Central Park, the Congregation Shearith Israel synagogue houses the oldest Jewish congregation in North America, founded in 1654 by Sephardic Jews. The limestone-clad building adopts the architectural Classicism popularized by the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In the context of this religious structure, the use of the style was justified by citing discoveries in Palestine of ancient synagogues with classical elements. The sanctuary features interior decoration and stained glass by Tiffany Studios.
What did the New York Landmarks Conservancy do?
Shearith Israel has periodically consulted us for technical assistance, referrals, and grant help with synagogue restoration, including work on the stained-glass windows and cast-iron perimeter fencing. Additionally, we have provided expertise and grants for the congregation’s cemeteries in Chinatown, Greenwich Village, and Chelsea.